Dental practice committed to young talent wins coveted apprenticeship award

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Bridge Dental Care’s principal dentist Len Smart with practice manager Sue Pipe and the award.

Bridge Dental Care’s principal dentist Len Smart with practice manager Sue Pipe and the award.

A South Wales dental practice, which has recruited apprentices to expand the business, got its teeth into a major national accolade at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.

Bridge Dental Care in Newbridge, near Caerphilly was named Small Employer of the Year at the high profile awards ceremony held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday.

“The standard was so high in our category that we didn’t think we would win,” said Len Smart, principal dentist at Bridge Dental Care. “The award is an endorsement of our small team and everyone plays their part. Training is a key part of driving the practice forward.”

The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme, led by the Welsh Government, is supported by the European Social Fund.

Bridge Dental Care employs 16 staff and two apprentices working towards an Apprenticeship in Dental Nursing. Sue Pipe, treatment co-ordinator, said: “We aim to be at the cutting edge of dentistry so ongoing training and development is fundamental to us.

“We need a team which is flexible, quick to adapt and with good communication skills. Dental nurses may be the first point of contact so these skills are essential.

“The Apprenticeship programme is perfect as it offers personal skills training in addition to the nursing qualification. Our training provider, Aspiration Training, is excellent, offering interactive, fun training sessions that are second to none.

“I am pleased with the patient care shown by the apprentices; their talents are evident by the many compliments we receive. We have been able to widen and improve our services and increase our hours to better accommodate specific requirements from our patients.”

She is now recommending the Apprenticeship programme to other practices looking to recruit staff.

Chris Cogger, from Aspiration Training, part of the Vocational Skills Partnership (VSP) consortium, said: “Bridge Dental Care is dedicated to working with their apprentices. They have opportunities to work in various fields of dentistry and with different dentists to give them the broadest skill base.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said: “Congratulations to all winners and finalists. We have some truly exceptional apprentices and learners here in Wales and these awards provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements.

“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy.”

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